WASHINGTON — President Obama announced Wednesday that he intends to nominate John Herrera, who serves on the board of one credit union and works for another, to fill the vacancy on the National Credit Union Administration's board.
Herrera, the senior vice president for Latino/Hispanic affairs at Self-Help Credit Union in Durham, N.C., is also a co-founder and board chairman at the $217 million-asset Latino Community Credit Union, also in Durham. Herrera served on North Carolina's Credit Union Commission from 2003 to 2010.
While Herrera must pass muster in the Senate before he can occupy his seat, news of his nomination drew quick praise from around the industry.
"I have known John for many years and have always been incredibly impressed with his intellect and his untiring commitment to credit union principles," former NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar said in an emailed statement. "While I would say that the confirmation process will be a steep hill to climb for any nominee so late in a hotly contested election year, John would be an outstanding NCUA Board member if he is confirmed. It will all come down to the politics on the Hill at this stage."
Jim Nussle, the president and chief executive of the Credit Union National Association, said in a press release that "few credit union leaders have worked harder or more passionately to include marginalized and underserved communities into traditional financial services than John."
Dan Berger, the president and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said he called Herrera to congratulate him upon hearing of the nomination. "We look forward to working with Mr. Herrera, should he be confirmed, to ensure a positive regulatory environment for credit unions," Berger added in a press release.
The board's current members, Chairman Rick Metsger and Member J. Mark McWatters, also commended Herrera's nomination. "I congratulate John Herrera and hope the Senate acts quickly on his nomination," Metsger said in a statement. "John's experience creating the Latino Community Credit Union and at Self-Help Services will broaden the Board's perspective and strengthen its ability to fulfill the mandate of the Federal Credit Union Act, including serving persons of modest means."
McWatters, who is waiting for the Senate to act on his nomination to the U.S. Export-Import Bank, said Herrera's "experience in working with underserved communities and involvement in creating a thriving credit union will provide much value to NCUA, federally insured credit unions and all credit union members."
According to the Latino Community Credit Union, about 90% of its 62,000 members are low-income and about 65% were unbanked before joining.